Skip navigation

Category Archives: Albums

So here it is. One of the most anticipated albums of the year. Dear Science, the third album from New York art-rock experimentalists TV On The Radio. I got this album at the same time as a couple of other big albums in the form of Bloc Party‘s Intimacy, and Kings of Leon‘s Only By The Night. I’ve not got around to the KoL album yet, and I’m reserving judgement on Intimacy til the full physical release next month. Dear Science, however, is a cracker.

Since Return To Cookie Mountain came out in 2006, and was subsequently named Spin Album of the Year, (which turned out to be just one element of the album’s huge critical acclaim) the musical world has been eagerly anticipating Dear Science. We’re talking expectations of life-changing, music-industry-changing maybe even world-changing brilliance here. Well, I’ve heard it, and it’s only an album at the end of the day. It’s just like the rest I’ve heard this year, but better. Change your life it will not, and it was never going to. Get over it.

One key difference here to Return To Cookie Mountain is immediacy. RTCM took a few listens to “get”, and no doubt Dear Science will reveal it’s true wonders with time, like fine wine, without the psychoactive drug effects (probably). However Dear Science is also quick to hit you, and grab attention, with hand-claps, horns and something that sounds suspiciously like a 1983 Casio DG20 electric guitar, set to Electric Mandolin. Opener ‘Halfway Home’, single ‘Golden Age’ and tracks like ‘Dancing Choose’ grab you with electronic and guitar parts blended in a way I think Bloc Party might be trying to achieve, while ‘Red Dress’ is unashamedly funky. What TV On The Radio do on this album, to an even greater extent than they did on Return To Cookie Mountain and earlier, is blur genre boundaries, with the funky elements, the rap elements on ‘DLZ’, oft-disguised guitars throughout, and synths, drums and vocals all put together brilliantly by Dave Sitek’s production skills.

Ending with with ‘Lover’s Day’, Tunde Adebimpe also demonstates that vast variety is present in his lyrics as in the music, with openly sexy lyrics ending an album that has covered death, war, anger, heartbreak and most of the world’s other ills.

As ‘Lover’s Day’ rounds of the album with jazzy sax and horms, choral vocals and marching snares, I reflect on another triumph for TVOTR, and I can see this album being featured in even more “album of the year” debates than its predecessor.

You can, and should, buy Dear Science from here (UK) or here (US Deluxe Edition) if you don’t already have it.

MP3: TV On The Radio – Golden Age

MP3: TV On The Radio – Dancing Choose

Birmingham-based Old School Tie used to be an intrumental outfit, but have now incorporated vocals into their electonic rock sound and are soon to unleash a self-released debut album, Mystery Sound Playrgound. In the past they’ve supported the likes of Oceansize, Infadels and Mexicolas, one of my favourite Birmingham bands.

Fireflies is a good example of their sound, and what’s to come from the new album. A blend of subtle electronic sounds and varied strengths of guitar sounds complement the lush vocals well, creating a crisp but deep track. The vocals in the second half of the track remind me of someone else… It’ll come to me…

MP3: Old School Tie – Fireflies

I wasn’t originally planning on reviewing ¿Cómo Te Llama? but I’ve been listening to it almost non-stop since it was released and I felt I had to.

¿Cómo Te Llama? is the second album from The Strokes guitarist-come-solo-artist Albert Hammond Jr and I think he’s excelled himself again. Originally the solo stuff was songs he wrote for The Strokes but didnt’t fit. Now not only is ¿Cómo Te Llama? better than his first album, Yours To Keep, they’ve both been as good as if not better than the last Strokes album, First Impressions Of Earth.

¿Cómo Te Llama? kicks off with Bargain of a Century, with a fast bassline that could have been on Room On Fire, before AH Jr comes in with Julian Casablancas-esque vocals. However, this is not a Strokes record, and the perfect guitar-pop of In My Room shows what AH Jr can do. Catchy as Last NIte, and with brilliant little pieces of guitar riff-age overlapping and playing around the vocals, this is possibly my favourite track on the record. Lisa follows it, starting with a lo-fi drum-machine intro, this song develops into a deep mix of pianos, fuzzy guitars and distant vocals.

Fourth track GfC was the first single released from the album, and again it’s perfect guitar-pop from Hammond, from the quiet guitar intro to the almost yelling vocals in the chorus. By this point in the first listen of this album, I was already considering whether I prefer Hammond alone to The Strokes. The album continues through the Sex Pistols-esque guitars of The Big Americana, the dark “ooooh-woo-oohs” of The Rocket, and the scattered guitars and wandering bass-line of Victory At Monterey. After these the album continues in much the same vein, but with slightly less quality, including an eerie 7 minute instrumental called Eerie Couch.

Overall, ¿Cómo Te Llama? has all the quality and instant-impact of Yours To Keep and perhaps more depth. These aren’t Strokes songs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as good. AH Jr was one of my highlights of the Leeds Festival last year, when he and his band headlined the Carling Stage, and with this album, I can’t help but wish he’d headline it again, instead of the emo-pop dross of Elliot Minor or the NME-scene-indie of The Kills. Ah well…

You can buy the album from here, with a bonus DVD of live songs.

The New Sound. x

“One Day As A Lion is both a warning delivered and a promise kept.”

If you haven’t already heard, One Day As A Lion is Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against The Machine‘s side project, accompanied by former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. The terribly-talented twosome recently posted their first track on MySpace. Wild International sees trademark de la Rocha vocals over Theodore’s drums and some brutal-sounding synths laid down by de la Rocha. It’s damn good and there’s an EP on the way! Rumours of an album from de la Rocha under a different guise have been around since the last millenium, but finally we might have something a bit better than the stuff he did with DJ Shadow. Then maybe a new Rage album?

Dream Bitches are a New York band that have been together for five years and recently released their second album, Coke-And-Spiriters. Their sound reminds me slightly of Australian indie-punkers The Grates but Dream Bitches lack the energetic front-woman that The Grates have in the form of Patience Hodgson. Incidently, The Grates have a new single out. The reason I’ve mentioned the energetic Hodgson is that if Dream Bitches had half of her energy, then I might be more interested. The music will be perfectly approachable for fans of Tegan and Sarah and suchlike, but I think it just lacks that something-something that I like about The Grates. I didn’t actually intend for this review to be a comparison between the two, but I can’t enjoy one without thinking that they’re not as good as the other. Anyways, Dream Bitches do have some good tunes, and my fave is Bad Luck Bill. Very catchy indie-pop riffs and vocals with a hint of Kimya Dawson in there.

MP3: Dream Bitches – Bad Luck Bill

You can also download two older songs from the band’s myspace here, andyou can buy their new album here!

Enjoy. x

So the reason I hadn’t posted in a while before the Bloc Party single review below was that I’d been on holiday. To make up for the lack of new music for you in that time, here’s the two new records that I was listening to while I was away.

DananananaykroydSissy Hits

Sissy Hits is the first EP from Glaswegian “fight-pop” sextet Dananananaykroyd to be released in the UK. After their original record label went bust earlier this year, the band had to find a new label before the EP could finally be released. It was well worth the wait! Sissy Hits is a series of songs that start off like Hot Club De Paris before working their way to The Blood Brothers via yourcodenameis:milo. An unbelievably good EP, and it joins Bloc Party‘s self-titled EP and Death From Above 1979‘s Heads Up! EP as one of my three favourite EPs ever. Can’t wait to hear more from these guys. Buy it here and bag yourself a bargain. You won’t be disappointed.

My EductationBad Vibrations

I’ve never really been a massive fan of instrumental music, and most post-rock type bands can bore me at times. There are however, noteable exceptions. When I received this album in the post from the very helpful guys at Fanatic Promotion, I had my reservations, but I was pleasantly surprised. More laid back than the likes of Explosions In The Sky, the album reminded me more of Broken Social Scene‘s album You Forgot It In People because of the varied instrumentation and the sense of space in the record. A beautifully put-together album, this will appeal to fans of Broken Social Scene and also fans of the post-rock hot-shots like Explosions In The Sky and This Will Destroy You who fancy something more subtle. Mellow, altmospheric and a very rewarding listen, Bad Vibrations is an excellent showpiece of what My Education can do. You can buy it here.

MP3: Dananananaykroyd – The Greater Than Symbol And The Hash

MP3: My Education – Arch

Bloc Party debuted their new single Mercury on Zane Lowe’s show on Radio 1 this evening. To listen to the band’s first track since Flux and hear them talk about the track, and their forthcoming third album, you can listen back on the bbc website here. It sees the foursome move further towards the electic sound that frontman Kele Okereke is looking for, and ventures away from the indie-rock of Silent Alarm.

You can preorder the Mercury Deluxe disk set from Bloc Party’s official site here.

Rory. x

Photo By Sarah Cass

Our friends at Fanatic Promotion sent me an email about this band the other day. The Terrordactyls are an Anti-Folk duo from the USA, living in Washington State and Brooklyn. Their music is unothodox; acoustic guitars are fused with kazoo solos, which apparently landed the band with a sponsorship from Kazoobie. Truly living the rockstar lifestyle then.

The Terrordactyls released an EP and album in quick succession in March of this year. The full Mike Bowers EP can be streamed here and the self-titled album can be heard in full here. If you like what you hear, you can buy both from their website here. The album features the dulcet tones of Kimya Dawson (of Moldy Peaches and Juno fame) and she compliments their sound wonderfully. These guys are the best acoustic act I’ve heard in quite a while, and I predict an explosion of popularity in 2008, as fans of the Juno soundtrack will enjoy Kimya Dawson‘s input, and The Terrordactyls’ sound will surely appeal to fans of hers and maybe people will prefer their snappy lyrics and kazoo mastery to another dissappointing Death Cab For Cutie record or something like that. I know I do.

MP3: The Terrordactyls – Overcast Summer

MP3: The Terrordactyls – Growing Old

MP3: The Terrordactyls – Fall

MP3: The Terrordactyls – Devices

(We’ve made the mp3s more manageable. Click to play them, or right click > “Save As” do download)

Rory. x

Weezer have announced the track-listing for their new album. The album will be released in June, and will be their third self-titled album, and will follow on from The Blue and Green albums in being dubbed The Red Album. Yes, that is the real artwork.

The tracks on the album will be:
‘Troublemaker’
‘The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)’
‘Pork and Beans’
‘Heart Songs’
‘Everybody Get Dangerous’
‘Dreamin’
‘Thought I Knew’
‘Cold Dark World’
‘Automatic’
‘The Angel and the One’
‘Miss Sweeney’
‘Pig’
‘The Spider’
‘King’

It’s been three years since the last Weezer album, and if the new single Pork and Beans is anything to go off, it might be yet another brilliant album. Expect geek-pop tunes and painfully cool artwork (yes, I’m loving the artwork).

You can hear Pork and Beans on Weezer’s website and our myspace!

The New Sound. x

Wayne Stover

Vinny has been spending his well-earned time scouring the world of music (myspace) and he’s found you this gem:

The Envy Corps

These Iowan indie rockers have finally arrived onto the British airwaves, appearing on MTV2 with their new single, Story Problem.

With two single releases and another album release (Dwell) on the way, this band is tipped for big things. Offering a refreshing take on the indie genre, The Envy Corps manage to blend shimmering guitar parts and danceable drum lines with uplifting consequences, which have drawn comparison to Modest Mouse and Radiohead amongst others.

Currently on their headlining US tour for Dwell (which is out April 28th on Vertigo Records), we can expect to hear more from these guys in the summer.

Vinny. x

MP3: The Envy Corps – Story Problem

MP3: The Envy Corps – Rhinemaidens

Other News, Yeah?

In other news, we received the Does It Offend You, Yeah? album in the post today (finally) and it’s an outstanding album. They’ve kept the (nu-)rave sound from the earlier singles throughout, and added more pop sensibilities in the newer songs. This year’s Klaxons? Maybe not, but nothing could make us more excited about seeing them do it live next week, check back for a review of that, and check them out on their UK tour if you can.

MP3: Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Let’s Make Out (Live)

Please check out our “Subscribe” page at the top for news on how to add yourself to The New Sound mailing list for updates, extras and competitions.

The New Sound. x